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Omne solum forti patria …

12 Sep

Omne solum forti patria est ut piscibus aequor, 
ut volucri vacuo quicquid in orbe patet
Hull being the cultured place that it is it should come as no surprise to find Ovid quoted on the corner of Hessle Road and the Boulevard. 

"A handsome and spacious new establishment"

11 Sep

Mr Craft and his company it appeared had designs to have stores on the main roads into Hull. Starting in the mid 1880s with Beverley Road by 1912 they had one on Witham and one on Anlaby Road and by 1914 would have had one on Hessle Road had not an Archduke and his wife taken a wrong turn in Sarajevo. So anyhow Crafts’ Ltd proudly opened their Hessle Road store in May 1919. The local paper, the Hull Daily Mail, was there and gave it a big write up. We are given a description of this “innovation for Hessle Road” that reads like an architectural review: “As one approaches the new premises, the impression is of an effectively designed building, of lofty proportions, with distinct architectural features. The design suggests a modern business establishment on the lines of the great London stores. The fabric is a Royal Doulton terracotta facade with alternate squares and graceful circular columns. On the ground floor are two large semi-island windows and two large side windows. The building is surmounted with an imposing dome.” I’m guessing this was cut and pasted or whatever was the style in those days from a Crafts’ Ltd press release. The ground floor we are told sold “goods in the carpet line, dress and cotton fabrics, gentlemen’s outfitting goods, boots, etc.. The first floor we are informed “”will be of great interest to the ladies, for here are to be found the most modern underclothing, baby linen, smart blouses and the latest fashionable hats, effectively displayed at prices which appear to be most reasonable.” It ends optimistically: “It is safe to say that Messrs Craft’s new stores… will be quickly appreciated.”…
Maybe the stores were appreciated I don’t know. I can say that today there are no Crafts’ stores in Hull. I can find no reference to what happened to these dreams stores, maybe the downturn in the 20s and 30s was too much, or maybe they spent too much on terracotta columns and imposing domes (which, by the way, seems to have disappeared). The handsome and spacious establishment now sells camping equipment and outdoor clothing: The store website informs us: “You’ll find everything from jackets, fleeces, t-shirts, trousers and shorts, hoodies, base layers (???) and workwear .” Maybe they should get the HDM to do them a write up.

Wanna buy another bank or two?

31 Aug

As the money flowed in during the boom times of  the turn of last century so the banks thought it wise to make a presence on Hessle Road. So substantial buildings adorned, as was the style in those days, with the symbols of strength and security were built to supply the needs of the local trawler owners, skippers and three day millionaires (though perhaps not so much the latter). Lions with shields were the choice here on the Yorkshire Bank …
…and a shield with lions at Barclays.
No matter, now the money is now no longer flowing the banks are both empty and for sale along with the strength and security.

Gold Medal Post Box, Hessle Road

29 Aug

Can it really be five years since I posted about the golden phone box outside the unemployment office? It had been painted gold after some local lad won a gold medal in the boxing at the London Olympics. I knew they’d also painted a pillar box gold somewhere on Hessle Road but had not come across it until now. OK I admit I wasn’t really looking very hard, boxing, Olympics not really being my thing … Well anyway here it is looking in need of new coat of the gold stuff. There’s a wee plaque on the side that tells you all about it. It says … well you can read it yourself.

The pillar box itself has the monogram of King Edward VII so dates between 1901 and 1910, the boom years of Hessle Road.

Dairycoates, Hessle Road

28 Aug

This pub was built in the mid 1870’s to cater for the thirsts of railway workers at the engine sheds of the Hull and Selby Railway. The railway arrived in the 1830s and transformed what was an agricultural hamlet with a population of just three in 1823 into one of the largest  engine shops in the north east. To this then add the arrival of St Andrew’s Dock for the fishing fleet in 1883 and you can see how Dairycoates, a veritable boom town, might be spreading eastwards to meet the westward surge of Hull just two miles down the road. By the turn of the 20th century the union was complete with all signs of agriculture long gone and Dairycoates just another busy and overcrowded area of the city as Hull continued to surge out westward towards Hessle and Anlaby. 
Today no one with an ounce of sense uses steam engines so the engine sheds are long gone. The former rail track is now the busy A63 dual carriage way of ill repute. Iceland’s decision to extend its fishing limits and other factors including the EU saw off the fishing fleet. St Andrew’s Dock is now a silted up mess with dereliction and vandalism a real problem The area is given over to supermarkets like ASDA and Lidl and to small industrial firms. I doubt if even three people now live in the area of the original hamlet. All that seems to remain is this colourful pub, a nearby Dairycoates Avenue and a flyover known as the Dairycoates Flyover.

The Half Way, Hessle Road

27 Aug

That’s half way between Hessle and Hull. As a crow flies it’s about four and a half miles from the centre of old town Hull to Hessle’s bustling heart so maybe it’s five or so miles on the ground.  A fair walk but hardly exhausting. Nevertheless you’d need some refreshment if going to either destination, and if overcome by dread or fatigue you could rest up at the Half Way Hotel.  This place, by the look of it built in the first half of the 19th century when Hessle Road was a turnpike and ran through open fields, is no longer a hotel but still refreshes so I’m told. The large mural I showed the other day is on the far side.

Annoying lamp post thingies, Hessle Road

26 Aug
What can I say about these odd decorative features attached to street lights? I don’t know who made them, when they went up or anything at all about them other than their obvious local theme. They quite interesting but also a bit annoying as you have to be at a certain angle before they catch the light and reveal the picture within. There’s a fair few of them; I limited myself to four.
PS: I’ve just found out that the local rugby league team won their cup final at Wembley for the second year in a row. So there’ll be much rejoicing on Hessle Road and thereabouts.